I know an odd thing to say but walking in the Algarvian ‘mountains’ on hot days is not to be recommended, and this spring we had a lot of ‘unseasonably’ hot days in April. Fortunately there were the odd few when there was sufficient cloud cover, and since I make us carry loads of water (minimum of 2.5litres between us even on cool days!) we knew we could probably attempt another walk before our winter sojourn came to an end. Before we start though can you spot the beetle or is it a bee photobombing in my header photograph? Only realised once I returned home!
Our walk began at Forest Rangers’ Post in the Mata Nacional das Terras da Ordem, you may recall this from our original nightingale walk. We’d been meaning to return here for ages as we wanted to explore some of the other trails in the forest, and finally a week or so ago we did. We drove up to the Forest Ranger’s Post, but the trail from the road isn’t that far if you prefer not to risk the dirt track. By the way if you have a rental car then you are highly unlikely to be covered by insurance when driving on unpaved roads so probably sensible not to drive along the track. We’d only drove up because we’d forgotten this!!
Anyhow the car survived the track and once parked up we were on our way on foot, using no583 of Carta Militar de Portugal to guide us. This walk isn’t possible without the map as there are no signs, no markers and some of the paths don’t look like paths at the turnoffs. And as you can see from my ‘Map my Walk‘ diagram there were also a few ups and downs to navigate.
The first section of course was all downhill. Not too steep for the knees but I wouldn’t want to try this after a heavy rainfall as there were quite a few places where streams cross the path.
As you may have spotted from the map this walk is a figure of eight and so whilst it was mostly downhill initially, we did need to return uphill for a brief section for the crossing point. We also seemed to be weaving in and out of the hillside! Still it did mean great views and amazingly the watch tower stayed in sight for most of it.
However all the twists and turns, and ups and downs meant we hadn’t actually got very far. By the time we were down by the Ria Foupana we’d only walked about 2.5miles! Which is probably why we took a detour to discover how much had changed since we had last been by the ford. The good news is that the ford has been repaired, the bad news is that it is only temporary with gravel and soil, so unless they have a cunning plan this summer the ford will disappear again come the winter rains. Take note Jo & Mike!
From here it is an easy stroll towards Pernadas, with plenty of distractions for botanists and birders alike. There’s even a smallholding for sale!
At Pernadas we took a sharp right uphill. We had been concerned about this section, and even ‘Map my Walks’ highlights it as purple because of the gradient. However on the day itself it turned out to be ok. Certainly steep but with the wonderful views behind us of the Ria Odeleite, Ria Foupana and even the Rio Guadiana in the distance, we were too busy stopping to photograph the view again and again to even notice!
The return route is almost a straight line as it follows the ridge, consequently there is also very little tree cover. Fabulous for views of Foz de Odeleite, Odeleite and Tenência but probably not something you’ll want to attempt on a hot summers day. We loved it though under our cloudy skies.
Not just the views that made me love this walk. I also loved the shape as it’s a ‘figure of eight’ walk. There is something about ‘figure of eight’ walks. I think it’s that short moment when you find yourself at the same point but instead of retracing your steps you get to explore a new path and enjoy new views. And the way round we’d done it meant it wasn’t long from the crossing point before we were back at the Forest Rangers’ Post in the Mata Nacional das Terras da Ordem. Of course I had to visit the watch tower on our return. Well it had been watching us almost the whole way round! Access is free and open, and there are two viewing platforms from which to enjoy the views.
Do hope you have enjoyed this walk as much as we did walking it. For more walks in the Algarvian ‘mountains’ do check out my ‘Great Walks‘, or if you are after walks closer to home (wherever that maybe) then visit Jo and her Monday walkers as they trek around the world as well as in the Algarve.